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TV academies at war over internet Emmys

April 12, 2007 | 10:36 am

Emmywar

It's a bit confusing to people who aren't savvy about the politics of showbiz awards, but, strange as it may sound, there actually are two TV academies, separate and different, located 3,000 miles apart. They both bestow the Emmy Award and they're often suing each other. Like right now. Again. But this time the stakes are higher than ever because the future of the award itself is at stake. TV and the web have converged at last in recent days and we're seeing an explosion of original video produced for cyberspace. Clearly, those videos should be eligible for Emmys, too, but should they have their own categories or be grouped in the same races with "Ugly Betty" and "Grey's Anatomy"?

Those are the two approaches embraced by the two academies, which were just ordered by a judge to submit to binding arbitration after a new lawsuit broke out. Read my feature article — CLICK HERE.

By the way, there are also two separate Writers Guilds. Also, the Independent Film Project busted up a few years ago, bestowing rival awards to indie filmmakers (Indie Spirits and Gotham Awards). What's behind this insanity is the vast geographic divide between Los Angeles and New York and the big media egos on either coast. Often they refuse to work together and they think nothing of breaking up organizations into two separate entities that declare war on each other while doing the same business. Ridiculous.

Well, the heat is really on the two TV academies right now. The Emmys' rival Webby Awards just announced separate prizes for video and they're bestowed by one, unsplit organization acting as a united front against the entrenched TV establishment (stuck in rival trenches) — the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

(Original illustration by Tom O'Neil for L.A. Times)


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